Saudi Arabia pledges Rs37.4b for construction of Mohmand dam

Loan will be given at a very concessional rate of 2% for a period of 25 years, Saudi envoy tells Omar Ayub

Irshad Ansari June 09, 2021
Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malkiy called on the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan at his office on June 9, 2021. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malkiy on Wednesday informed a Pakistani official that the kingdom has approved 901 million Saudi Riyal (Rs37.4 billion) for Mohmand Hydropower Project.

In a meeting with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan in Islamabad, the Saudi envoy said the loan will be given at a very concessional rate of 2 per cent for a period of 25 years.

"This dam will be constructed on Swat River in District Mohmand of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and generate 800MW of electricity," an official statement issued after the meeting said.

It said that the dam will also irrigate 16,000 acres of land and boost agriculture productivity in the region. "This dam will play a vital role in socio-economic uplift of the province."

The Saudi ambassador apprised the minister about the successful visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia and shared its outcomes.

Ayub highlighted that Mohmand Hydropower Project will not only help unleash the hydropower potential of the K-P province but also improve energy security by increasing the share of hydel power in the country’s energy mix.

“Our government is focusing on environment-friendly and affordable energy through the development of solar, wind and hydel resources”, he added. The minister appreciated the Saudi support in the priority development areas.

Read more: All you need to know about Mohmand Dam

Both sides also discussed the bilateral economic cooperation and committed to expedite the implementation of ongoing development projects. Ayub assured the Saudi envoy that the financial assistance would be utilised expeditiously.

The Saudi ambassador, according to the statement, assured the minister of continued support at all levels to further strengthen the economic cooperation between the two brotherly countries.

He said that the Saudi side is committed to play a much stronger role in the socio-economic development of Pakistan. The ambassador also appreciated the role of Pakistani workers in the development of the kingdom.

Mohmand Dam is being built across Swat River in Mohmand tribal district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with gross water storage capacity of 1.2 MAF and power generation capacity of 800MW.

Also read: WAPDA approves contract for Mohmand Dam

In addition, the dam will provide 300 million gallons of drinking water per day to Peshawar. And not only that, the Mohmand Dam is also of immense importance as it is the only project that can save Peshawar, Charsadda and Naushehra from devastating floods.

In terms of electricity, irrigation, and flood protection, the country will accrue an annual benefit of Rs51 billion after the completion of the dam.

At present, there are only two major dams in Pakistan – Tarbela and Mangla. The former was built in 1977, and its storage capacity has dropped to 6.4 MAF against the earlier 9.4 MAF. However, following a structure-raising project, the capacity of Mangla Dam has been increased by 3 MAF to 7.4 MAF.